distinctive feature

See synonyms for distinctive feature on Thesaurus.com
  1. a feature of the sound system of a language that serves as the crucial distinguishing mark between two phonemes, as the distinctive feature of voicing, which distinguishes b from p in English, or nasality, which distinguishes m from b and p.

  2. any of a set of phonetic properties, as coronal, nasal, or strident, serving as a basic unit of phonological analysis by which the sounds that are significant in a language can be characterized and distinguished from one another.

  1. a component or phonetic feature characterizing a phoneme.

Origin of distinctive feature

First recorded in 1925–30

Words Nearby distinctive feature

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use distinctive feature in a sentence

  • Each is surrounded by a gelatinous capsule, which is its distinctive feature (Fig. 9).

    A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis | James Campbell Todd
  • Club life is, as might be supposed, a distinctive feature, and the Jockey Club (entrance 300) is a triumph of luxury.

    Argentina | W. A. Hirst
  • The distinctive feature in securing permanency seems to have been the intent to secure it.

    Invention | Bradley A. Fiske
  • The abolition of existing property relations is not at all a distinctive feature of Communism.

    Communism and Christianism | William Montgomery Brown
  • Nothing was marked, the boots were odd ones and of a prehistoric age; there was no distinctive feature about any of the things.

    Mrs. Vanderstein's jewels | Mrs. Charles Bryce